Letters to the Editor

Kobach no King

January 26, 2011


To the editor:

This past week a friend said his personal MLK Day tradition was to read Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” He said he read it slowly and without distraction, and he invited others to do the same.

I did read it and found much “to enlighten us in our own dark times” as another writer has said. King’s words are needed today as dark times are being ushered in by the new secretary of state, Kris Kobach, as he introduces his voter ID legislation. Much has been written showing that voter fraud has not been a problem, and Kobach’s proposed remedy would harm many elderly, poor and minority Kansans.

Why is one person so obsessed with this non-issue? Before a scheme to suppress minority voters was caught in 2007, Kobach said “the Kansas GOP has identified and caged more voters in the past 11 months than the previous two years.” Caging is an illegal trick to suppress minority voters by getting them knocked off voter rolls.

Kobach’s history and associations are truly frightening. Now he is using the guise of protecting voters’ rights to suppress voter participation, while simultaneously increasing his powers to prosecute violations.

In the words of King, “There are two types of laws: just and unjust.” King also speaks of the “silence of the good people.”

Kansas is already infamous for one road show of bigotry. Now our secretary of state says, “Kansas will be to voter fraud what Arizona is to illegal immigration.”

Fear and witch hunts do not make a state we can be proud of.

We must stand with civil and religious organizations opposing this bill.


matthewlyon 5 years ago

King and Kobach are different. There is no evidence that Kobach has ever committed plagiarism.

Defender 5 years ago

Look, Kevvie is back. When ya gonna get kicked off again? No one made you mad enough yet? Hmmmm?

bad_dog 5 years ago

It must be a "K" word thing that drew him out. You know that inescapable, unrelenting desire to alliterate; King, Kobach, Kevin...

Either that or he got tired of getting his tookas handed to him on his "Reagan Country" blog over at the cjonline.com

bad_dog 5 years ago

Could it be "Sins of the Husband..."?

Fossick 5 years ago

Agnostick: "What crackpot book did you find that in?"

The crackpot book called Volume II of The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. entitled "Rediscovering Precious Values, July 1951-November 1955," of which the editor notes:

"As was true of King's other academic papers, the plagiaries in his dissertation escaped detection in his lifetime. His professors at Boston, like those at Crozer, saw King as an earnest and even gifted student who presented consistent, though evolving, theological identity in his essays, exams and classroom comments. . . .

Although the extent of King's plagiaries suggest he knew that he was at least skirting academic norms. . . ." http://web.archive.org/web/20080205092412/http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/popular_requests/faq.htm (see question 8)

That King was a plagiarist is established beyond doubt. Whether that is important is all that is at issue.

Kontum1972 5 years ago

and the ethnic origin of the name "Kobach"..... is...?

BigPrune 5 years ago

Oh brother.......show i.d. to buy a beer ever?

mr_right_wing 5 years ago

I too have been a victim of blatant discrimination....

I was asked to show an ID to cash a check.

BigAl 5 years ago

Don't tell Kobach. He will want fingerprints and DNA samples. There is a huge problem with people mailing payment checks!!!!!

mr_right_wing 5 years ago

Hey, as long as the check cleared they wouldn't care who wrote it, or if it was even written in crayon! (That goes for pretty much all creditors!)

Kontum1972 5 years ago

gee,.. i just read an article from arizona about Kobach...."where's his brown shirt and jack boots"..?

"NUT"...... #2 is here with us?

we are doomed!

J1985 5 years ago

Can someone explain this more to me? What I understand, everyone is upset because he wants people to show ID when they vote, is that right? Don't you always have your ID on you anyways? Am I missing something more maybe?

funkdog1 5 years ago

Well, if you're elderly and you've given up driving, then you may very well not have a photo ID. If you're poor and you take the bus, or if you're just environmentally conscious and you choose to travel by bus or bike, you might not have a valid photo ID.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

" Don't you always have your ID on you anyways?"

Some do, and some don't. And providing them to everyone who wants to exercise their right to vote is necessarily complicated and expensive. So why go to that trouble and expense to solve a non-existent problem?

"Am I missing something more maybe?"

Yes. The intent isn't to eliminate voter fraud-- you can't eliminate that which doesn't exist. The intent is to suppress voter turnout, which makes it much easier to affect close elections with other techniques. Given that Republican policies have negative effects on the majority of potential voters, decreasing the number of those who vote is essential.

JustNoticed 5 years ago

You are thoroughly sheepified. You may withdraw from the discussion.

Fossick 5 years ago

"Am I missing something more maybe?"

Of course you are. People who cannot be bothered to get an ID will no longer be voting for Democrats. Democrats understandably are opposed to that idea.

KayCee 5 years ago

LOL. Hey we found the REAL reason.

dontcallmedan 5 years ago

"...Kansans in their right mind..."

That's your answer.

George_Braziller 5 years ago

The rub is that it has to be a current photo ID. Not an expired driver's license or passport. Do you have any idea how difficult that is to obtain if you don't have a copy of your birth certificate?

I do some attendant work for an elderly woman who was planning to fly to Virginia to attend her granddaughter's wedding but had to have a current photo ID to board the plane.

Her driver's license had expired but she couldn't get a new one without a copy of her birth certificate. Problem was that she had to have a current photo ID to get a copy of her birth certificate. Can't even get a copy of a social security card without one of those two documents. It took three months to get it all worked out.

George_Braziller 5 years ago

She also couldn't request a copy of her own birth certificate without a photo ID, but her parents could request one for her just by providing their social security numbers. The pesky problem was that her father died 70 years ago and her mother died 22 years ago. The entire process was absolutely insane.

Bob Forer 5 years ago

I thought he was King of the Gypsies.

MyName 5 years ago

I thought he was King of the Wild Frontier.

bad_dog 5 years ago

Queen for a Day?

Court Jester?

Bill Getz 5 years ago

The same people said the same thing about Phil Kline after he got elected Atty Genl: unstoppable young fluent religious right fanatic with an agenda. At the end, he couldnt even get elected to office in Johnson County. Sleaze runs only so deep.

dontcallmedan 5 years ago

Your president wanted to blow things up.

BigAl 5 years ago

I have a dream that the right will quit drumming up false problems and looking for more ways to stifle our freedoms.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

I could take Kobach's rationale for voter ID seriously if he would also be pushing for making voting mandatory for everyone who's eligible. They do it in Australia, and voter turnout is considerably higher than here. But Kobach is doing this primarily to suppress voter turnout, so that ain't gonna happen.

Brock Masters 5 years ago

The LTE to the editor professes to admire King, but the letter they wrote is racist. I can understand the logic that the poor might somehow be affected by the legislation but what does a person's skin color have to do with anything? Why is a minority person more likely to be adversely affected by this legislation than a white person? Are you saying a white person will be able to produce a valid ID and vote, but for some reason a minority person won't? What is it about their skin color that makes them different?

People of color will have greater difficulty dealing with this legislation than a white person? Really? To believe otherwise is racist. Skin color is simply that - skin color and has no bearing on the who the person is and what they can achieve in life.

gudpoynt 5 years ago

You're right, skin color shouldn't make a difference at all..

But let's see some stats on who currently doesn't have a state-issued photo id.

Who do you think would make up a majority of that list? White people? Minorities? The elderly? What would their average income levels be?

Opponents to the proposal are crying foul because they assert that those without state issued photo id largely vote Democrat. To deflate the opposition argument, all you have to do is prove this isn't true -- that is, show that there is no significant partisan advantage to it's implementation.

Kobach and crew will probably not provide justification of this sort, because in all likelihood, there probably IS a significant partisan advantage.

So far, the only justification they've given is "Look, despite virtual no evidence to support us, we swear that voter fraud is a real problem in KS. Trust us."

Sorry. but that's not good enough for me. Even if there were evidence of voter fraud, any implementation to curb it should not result in a significant partisan advantage.

Too bad Kobach's flimsy justification seems to be enough to satisfy a large percentage of GOP voters, legislators, and elected executives.

Fossick 5 years ago

"Opponents to the proposal are crying foul because they assert that those without state issued photo id largely vote Democrat."

While I think that you are correct that this is the real objection, opponents of the proposal generally argue that some people are so downtrodden and oppressed that they can't possibly be expected to actually get an ID in order to vote. Too old, don't drive, don't have a BC, whatever - the argument is that it's manifestly unfair to demand that people who have a right to do x demonstrate that they are the people who have the right to do x. Or they argue that Kobach is a bad person(tm) who ought to be opposed just on principle.

If the Democrats actually came out and said that they were concerned that they would lose the votes of those marginal voters, the rationale would be too transparent for independents to go along with. Thus the charade about how hard it is for the poor and minorities to do what most everyone else manages to do without giving it a second thought.

Bananajoe 5 years ago

Hey Freddy, in case you haven't noticed. Most of the "minority" groups like blacks and hispanics are poor and therefore most likely to be affected by this law. This is a problems because they are already miss represented in our govermnet.

Brock Masters 5 years ago

The LTE writer broke out the poor and minorities as separate groups. So, it must be assumed that they believe that, they as a minority, will somehow be negatively affected by the proposed legislation.

Of course, the letter writer should have mentioned a fourth group, the undeducated. You know, those people who cannot spell mispresented and government.

jafs 5 years ago

I don't recall having to show my birth certificate to get a driver's license.

Bob_Keeshan 5 years ago

I personally am very concerned about voter fraud.

That is why I am so supportive of Kansas law, which has done an excellent job preventing voter fraud.

Meanwhile, some states have passed Voter ID laws and seen no measurable difference in cases of voter fraud. Why, then, are some lawmakers so eager to throw up impediments to casting a ballot.

I wish some lawmaker would have the guts to stand up and say he or she wanted to make it EASIER to vote. But you don't see that kind of courage in Topeka, either.

Fossick 5 years ago

"But you don't see that kind of courage in Topeka, either."

Exactly how is it courageous to make it easier to vote? That's been the trend in America since, oh, the middle of the 19th century. You might as well argue that it takes guts to stand against tooth decay or for being kind to animals.

Bob_Keeshan 5 years ago

Says the proponent of throwing up impediments in the name of "safety". Voter ID is just your latest bogeyman; Sad you can't advocate for duct tape on our windows anymore?

Fossick 5 years ago

I never said it was in the name of safety - you must have me confused with someone else. But thanks for answering the question anyway.

jaywalker 5 years ago

"The intent is to suppress voter turnout, which makes it much easier to affect close elections with other techniques. Given that Republican policies have negative effects on the majority of potential voters, decreasing the number of those who vote is essential."

Right, 'cuz it's always nip-tuck in Kansas and Republican are desperate for every vote they can get 'round these here parts.
And I love how so many want to characterize Kobach's "intent" as an attempt to "suppress voter turnout". So apparently, all the elderly/minority/needy/planet conscious/non-ID holders are exclusively Democrats. Huh.

Rozann 5 years ago

When is the last time you heard someone on the right or far right mention wanting to uplift and help the poor and the oppressed? Never hear it. They want control for their own - and that can be quite exclusive. Be careful on the right, be careful all of us - you never know what kind of shoes you might be wearing someday. Perhaps you will be the one who can't get an ID because of many obstacles thrown your way. Let me just say, people tire, especially the oppressed; people step around them every day - almost as though they don't exist. Can't Kansas try to help rather than separate?

Kansas is near and dear to my heart. I live in Vermont and this kind of nonsense doesn't happen here.

jaywalker 5 years ago

"When is the last time you heard someone on the right or far right mention wanting to uplift and help the poor and the oppressed? Never hear it"

Come on now, seriously? The entire "right" ... or "far right"? Obviously you prefer to see no difference there so why bother differentiating?
Do you really walk around believing all conservatives don't help nor care about the poor and oppressed? That's just plain sad, Rozann. Off the top of my head I can think of a few initiatives by the great villain, W:
-No Child Left Behind isn't about gettin' all those rich, privileged kids through school.
-the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit is ridiculously popular and successful -Pepfar - how many lives has that saved in Africa, Haiti, and the world to date? A few million? - Bush forgave billions of debt to African nations and sponsored a malaria initative that's saved hundreds of thousands if not millions by now

And that's just off the top of my head concerning one 'righty' who's been portrayed as Satan.

You might want to listen a little closer, Rozann.

Terry Jacobsen 5 years ago

Please. Research shows that "far right, religious people" donate more time and money to charities than any other group. And you can keep Vermont. They have a law on the books there that says "Women must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth." So much for no nonsense.

Scott Morgan 5 years ago

Is there some tainted weed going around Lawrence. Wowzer, for Kobach attacking a non issue issue there seems to be a lot of pee stained lib pants. If there aint nothing going on then you folks should be fine with showing I.D.

Letter writer stated this though?


Kansas is already infamous for one road show of bigotry. huh again.

Bob_Keeshan 5 years ago

If there ain't nothing going on, you should be fine being strip searched prior to entering a state office building.

It is to protect the rest of us.

ksriver2010 5 years ago

You all are missing the point. It is NOT about voter turnout. Republicans are not in danger of losing a majority in the state, with or without illegals in Western Kansas.

Ultimately it is to force an issue where the illegals will have to apply for DL, and then to enforce some action on those that don't pass. But overall a non-issue. Most illegals in Western Kansas have fake papers and can get a DL just fine. It is only under scrutiny or gov't screening that the screeners or employers realize that they have 5 guys at the meat packing plant already that have the same social security number.

A well known meat packing plant in Dodge City turns away 90% of potential workers who all show up with valid SSN and ID cards but don't pass the rudimentary gov't screening. Do they report them? No. The schools have 80+% of kids that are well known as being undocumented. Mom and Dad spent all their money on fake ID's for themselves, not the kids. Do the schools report them? No. And that infuriates Repubs.

Note the freshmen Repubs' agenda, published two weeks ago. Abortion, and multiple crackdowns on illegals. Very little on the economy.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

"Republicans are not in danger of losing a majority in the state, with or without illegals in Western Kansas."

Kobach has already stated that he'll continue his private law practice even though he just ran for and got elected to a full-time, statewide office. His major (only?) issue was this one. Once he gets this passed in Kansas, he'll begin selling his services to get similar measures passed elsewhere, just as he sells his services on the immigration issue. And that won't be exclusively in red states.

But in Kansas, previous to this election cycle, for a number of years, the governing coalition has been between moderate Republicans and Democrats. For the hard right to prevail year in and year out, they very much depend on low voter turnout amongst more moderate voters. And this is just one way to go about that.

There is one more reason that Kobach made it such an issue. Because it's highly contentious it's also a very distracting issue. By cranking up the volume on this non-issue, there is no way to have discussions on issues of real import.

ksriver2010 5 years ago

Kobach clearly has a conflict of interest, no doubt about it.

jaywalker 5 years ago

Everything's a conspiracy or a devious plot packed with ulterior motives, eh Bozo? Good thing we've got you around to decipher all this stuff for us.

overthemoon 5 years ago

Kobach's making quite a name for himself all over the country...preying on the fears of people who are easily parted from their money.

Regarding his mercenary 'immigration consulting':


"Behind all of this stands one man: Kris Kobach, a former Kansas City law professor who was just elected Kansas secretary of state. For the better part of the last six years, Kobach has been chief legal counsel to the Immigration Reform Law Institute, which is the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). He helped to write and defend in court the laws in Hazleton, Valley Park, Farmers Branch, Fremont and Arizona, and he is seeking to do even more.

Kobach's affiliation with FAIR is important. For most of the last three decades, FAIR has been working, as its founder John Tanton once wrote, to preserve "a European-American majority, and a clear one at that."

Mike Ford 5 years ago

wow, I'm fixing to go in a completely different angle here. Tribal ID's issued by federally recognized Indian tribes here in Kansas and elsewhere in the 28 or so states with federal tribes. This whole voter ID thing is hilarious. Why don't the fascists admit they fear Brown people because they're Brown Shirts, I don't know. It's fairly obvious. I know Kickapoo people who get profiled and this whole voter ID thing reeks of profiling. I've been profiled in Brown, Doniphan, and Osage County, KS myself. It's funny but I've never been asked for my ID when I voted Lawrence or Baldwin City. This is selective profiling and is basically just as harrassing as the poll taxes in the South where I grew up. People are too dumb to remember and the GOP is wonderful at attracting dumb, paranoid, anti-minority religious voters. Go GOP, you're sooooo smart.....

Scott Morgan 5 years ago

Why in the name of God would somebody in Brown County have the slightest interest in profiling you? Or anybody else?

For as long as I can remember in Kansas the polling places are staffed by folks who look grandmas and grandpas. Are there backrooms I'm missing.

Good grief, are we back to watching out for black helicopters again?

For all those demonizing Kobach, I suggest meeting him someday. He's a fine family man and about as down to Earth as one can be.

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